Yeh Hsien was a multi-media production devised and performed by the Disability Youth Theatre. Adapted from the traditional Chinese Cinderella story from AD 850-860, the production brought together four artforms: live performance, video projection, original sounds and music and a multi-sensory set.
Yeh Hsien was the second production of its type to be produced by the Disability Youth Theatre, the first being The Chase in 1999.
Liselle Terret had been a drama teacher in a special needs school before she joined Half Moon Theatre in 1998. Here she talks about her excitement to develop this new role, describing how she worked with other artists and disabled young people on a production called Yeh Hsien. Interviewed by Elsa Loker.
Daryl Beeton was an actor and drama facilitator who worked for Half Moon Theatre before becoming Associate Director at Half Moon Theatre in the early 2000s. He talks about disability work and diversity within the context of young people’s theatre and how Half Moon Theatre was one of the first companies to embrace this. Interviewed by Toni Tsaera.
Academic, Martin Heaney worked on a number of participatory projects at Half Moon Theatre in White Horse Road in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He talks about a number of participatory projects in the late 199s and the importance of the company’s disability work. Interviewed by Alexia-Pyrrha Ashford.
Justin Allder is a drama facilitator and film-maker who has worked on a range participatory projects with Half Moon Theatre on White Horse Road from the early 2000s. He talks about running the Youth Theatre group for young people with disabilities and how the young people were empowered through the work. interviewed by Rosie Vincent.
The Disability Youth Theatre has its origins in the work the company did in the 1980’s and was more formally established in 1997 as a result of a grant. Following extensive outreach in Tower Hamlets schools and organisations, a group was formed specifically for those with a physical disability and/or sensory impairment. Fully resourced productions were presented in the Half Moon Main Studio, with extensive technical support including collaborations with visual artists, videographers and sound engineers. The approach to the work was inclusive and celebratory of people’s different abilities. Providing an exclusive youth theatre for young people with disabilities came about in response to the feelings of the young people themselves. Any person who wished to move into the mainstream youth theatre was supported in doing so.
Today Half Moon continues on this tradition by running, Solar, a drama group specifically for disabled teenagers in East London.